# Sunday, April 6, 2014

Today I am grateful for students who are so passionate about learning that they are willing to stay up all night finishing a cool project.

Today I am grateful for those people with the talent, time and willingness to work to make outstanding movies for me to enjoy.

Today I am grateful for the amazing tools I work with every day.

Today I am grateful for all the time I spent with my son this week while he was in town.

Today I am grateful that I'm getting paid to watch the #BLDWIN keynote address.

Today I am grateful for this sunburn and this cold and this back pain and this heartache and a sleepless night and my inability to stop breaking wind.

Today I am grateful I am taking my son to his first Detroit Tigers Opening Day!

Today I am grateful I was able to spend time last night with old friends I hadn't seen in years - Pat and Joe in the early evening; and John and Melissa after dinner.

Today I am grateful for all those who donated their time to host a local edition of the Global Windows Azure Boot Camp all over the world.

Today I am grateful for the dozens of people who gave up their evenings to hear me speak in Bloomington, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus this week.

Today I am grateful for lunch with friends yesterday and a great turnout at the Dayton .NET Developers Group last night.

Today I am grateful for

  1. Lunch with Barry Fridley, whom I haven't seen in years.
  2. A great audience at the Cincinnati .NET User Group last night.
  3. Going to the pub with the local Cinci devs.
  4. Hanging out with Nino late into the night.

Today I am grateful for the hospitality and generosity of Nino Benvenuti and his wife Shannon.

Today I am grateful that I spent nearly all my waking hours yesterday with my son.

Today I am grateful for excellent community events like #GrDevDay and for those work to put them on.

Today I am grateful that Lino told me he looks forward to my daily gratitude posts.

Today I am grateful for a long phone call with my sister, who I only see every few months.

Today I am grateful that the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group is still going strong years after I stepped away from leading it.

Today I am grateful for my first nerd lunch in a long time. It was good to see everyone again.

Today I am grateful for a few days at home before I hit the road again.

Today I am grateful for the Michigan State Spartans, who won a Big 10 basketball championship game in Indianapolis, just like the MSU football team in November!

Today I am grateful that, even though I am only home for a few hours, I get to spend much of it with my son.

Today I am grateful to #VSLive for inviting me to speak here. I had a great time!

Today I am grateful for 11 hours sleep and no morning commitments.

Today I am grateful for those who trust me enough to share their secrets with me..

Today I am grateful for a few days in the desert to recover from a brutal Michigan winter.

Today I am grateful that I am on my way to VSLive for the first time.

Today I am grateful I was finally able to resolve my e-mail client issues of the past week.

Today I am grateful for all this great recorded music from which I can choose.

Today I am grateful for a large and enthusiastic crowd for my presentation in Chicago last night.

Today I am grateful for the cartoonist Herge and the pleasure his character Tintin brought to so many of his fans, including me.

Today I am grateful for a packed room at the Findlay Area .NET User Group last night and for the the guy in the front row who helped me troubleshoot my failing demo.

Today I am grateful for my 8 apps that were approved for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone store this past week.

Today I am grateful for the 12 books I sold on eBay this weekend.

Today I am grateful for all the kind birthday wishes yesterday.

Today I am grateful I made it safely to Columbus last night, despite driving while exhausted.

Sunday, April 6, 2014 7:27:56 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, April 3, 2014

Like Day 1, there were a number of big announcements from Microsoft during the Day 2 keynote at the Build conference. The most exciting parts were the new features of Windows Azure (now “Microsoft Azure”), as that team continues to push out new features at an impressive rate.

My notes from the Day 2 Keynote are below. Just like yesterday, these are just my raw notes and it’s possible I missed or misheard or mistyped something. So back off, ok? ;)

    Create, Delete, Manage Azure VMs from within Visual Studio
    Enable Remote .NET Debugging on VM
    Use Puppet to manage Azure VMs
    Intelligent Routing with Traffic Manager
        Route user to closest data center
        Manage failover
    Provision Azure from Visual Studio
    Powershell editor in Visual Studio
        Azure deployment scripts
    Browser Link
        2-way communication between VS and any web browser
    Web Jobs
        Run Background tasks
        Web Jobs SDK
    Free SSL certificate with every web site instance
    Publish code from VS to Azure Mobile Services
    Single Sign on with Active Directory
    Enable Java on Azure
    SQL Azure
        Max SQL Database size 500GB (was 150GB max)
        Automatic backups
        Self-service restore
            roll back db to point in time
            Built-in feature. On by default
        Active geo replication
            Primary DB in read-write mode
            Secondary in Read-only mode
            In case of catastrophe, you can initiate failover
.NET and C#
    Visual Studio suggests refactoring
    Roslyn project is now Open Source
    Xamarin can use Roslyn Compiler
New Azure Portal
    Service Health
        Snapshot of global health of data centers
        Drill down via "blades" - flyout panels
    Visual Studio online integrated into Azure portal
        Team project
        Automated builds
        Source control
        Edit code in browser (syntax highlighting)
        Check in changed code
        Azure Resource Manager

Thursday, April 3, 2014 8:48:32 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Day 1 of the Microsoft Build conference is in the books. The keynote included some exciting announcements. The most significant changes were about Windows Phone 8.1, however there were also some interesting upgrades to Windows 8.1 and Microsoft office, along with a look at new phones from Nokia.

Below are the notes I took during the keynote. I learned most of this information at the same time as the rest of the world. If my notes contain any errors or important omissions, it’s because they are just that – raw notes.

Windows Phone 8.1
    Action Center
        Accessible from anywhere
        Show important apps and settings
    Customize lock screen (personalize)
    start screen
        Show more tiles (High-density)
        Digital assistant
        Powered by bing
        Replaces WP8 Search button
        Quiet hours
        Infers places and interests, but you can override or add to these
        Personal assistant:
            "What's on my calendar for Saturday?" "Wake me up at 7AM" "Put dentist appointment on my calendar for August first at 10AM"
            Lets you know about conflict
            Cortana is currently in BETA!
        "Next time I talk with X, remind me to talk about Y"
            Sets reminder. Reminds during next phone call, chat, or e-mail with X.
    Enterprise VPN on phone
    S-MIME E-mail
        Digitally signed e-mail
    MDM Policy: Workplac settings: workplace apps; restrict apps or saving to phone by role
    Workflow keyboard
        drag finger across letters
        Set Guiness record for fastest phone typing
        Reading mode
        In-private browsing
        Rolling out to consumers in next few months
        On new phones in late April / Early May
Windows 8.1 Update
    Mouse and Keyboard users
        Minimize Modern app
        User can make taskbar visible
        Switch between Win32 and Modern apps
        Power, Search, and Settings on-screen (top-right)
        Right-click menu on Metro side
        New apps highlighted
        April 8

App Dev
    Universal Windows apps
    Same code to produce apps for phone, tablet, and client
    Migrate existing app
        Drag common code to "Shared" node in Project Explorer
        Create custom controls for each platform
    Common app experience across devices
        Shared App Identities
        Customers can buy 1 app and it will work on phone and PC
        In-app purchaces cross platforms (e.g., buy sword)
        Devs can choose different experience if desired
    Submitting app to store now 50x faster

    Optimized for touch
        Larger ribbon icons
    Faster - more responsive
    Unlimited Undo & Redo
    Automatically saving Office docs to OneDrive
    Pinch to zoom
    Same office version runs on PC, Tablet, and Phone
    Silverlight apps still run on WP8.1
WinJS = cross-platform

Thursday, April 3, 2014 6:38:54 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The 2014 Microsoft Build Conference takes place April 2-4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Build has been sold out for months and I am not going. However I can still attend the sessions of this conference because Microsoft will be streaming them live from http://channel9.msdn.com/?wt.mc_id=build_hp.

I intend to watch the keynote. It begins at 8:30AM San Francisco time, which is 11:30AM at my house, which means I can sleep in a bit. Other sessions are available live on Channel 9. Even if you miss one (if you have to work or if it takes place at the same time as another session you want to see), you can view a recording shortly after the session ends. The conference schedule is available at http://channel9.msdn.com/?wt.mc_id=build_hp.

Microsoft has a history of making major announcements at Build. Although I have no inside information, I expect the same thing to happen this year. If you are in the tech world, it’s worth your time to at least watch the keynote.

I would like to attend next year’s Build Conference (Boss, that’s a hint, if you are reading), but I can still view the content from my own living room.

You should too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 9:45:40 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, March 31, 2014
Monday, March 31, 2014 4:02:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, March 29, 2014

I am home after touring around Indiana and Ohio this past week, speaking at student groups and user groups.

You can find below my slides and demos for each presentation

Date Event Slides /Demos
Mar 24 Indiana University student meetup download
Mar 25 Cincinnati .NET User Group download
Mar 26 Dayton .NET Developers Group download
Mar 27 Central Ohio .NET Developers Group download
Saturday, March 29, 2014 2:14:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, March 25, 2014


This is the second time, I’m going to promote my own apps in this space.

I’ve written a series of games based on a green-haired cartoon character I created named “Spinach Top”.

So far, I’ve published 4 of these games, described below.

Spinach Top Climbs the Sky
In this game, you can use the keyboard arrows or on-screen arrows to make Spinach Top jump from platform to platform until he reaches the smiling sun at the top of the sky. The trick is that the platforms change their speed each time they change direction. Bonus points for getting to the top faster.
Install this game here.

Spinach Top In Space
Spinach Top flies through a meteor shower hunting down little green men in flying saucers who are bent on destroying him. He must also avoid colliding with the meteors.
Install this game here.

Spinach Top Drives Fast
A racing game, in which Spinach Top must navigate a track that spells out his name, while other cars pass him and collide with him.
Install this game here.

My take on the classic Whack-A-Mole game. Each time Spinach Top pops out of a hole, touch him to make his head explode and score points.
Install this game here.

I’ve created a web page where you can download all the Spinach top games, plus a few other games at http://spinachtop.azurewebsites.net/.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 3:19:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 1:16:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hidden Garden is a series of children games apps in which the user is presented with a picture and must find a number of objects hidden in that picture. Examples include butterflies, teacups, and birds. Find all the hidden objects in a picture to advance to the next level which shows a different picture with even more objects hidden. Most of the pictures focus on a fantasy scene, such as fairies in an idyllic garden. The artwork is very well done and so is the music that plays during each game. The game is addictive and looks like a fun puzzle for children.

Pig Out Productions - the makers of these games - typically charge for them, but they are free for a limited time. Most games are available for Windows 8 and other platforms.

You can see a complete list at http://pigoutproductions.com/hidden-garden-series.html 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:02:39 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, March 17, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014 4:08:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)